Several large drugmakers including Merck & Co Inc and Pfizer Inc on Thursday unveiled a $1 billion fund to bolster struggling antibiotic companies and sustain a pipeline for new treatments.
Antibiotic makers have struggled with anemic investment and bankruptcies, even after the approval of new drugs, as fears of drug-resistant microbes force hospitals to adopt a more conservative approach toward such treatments.
Public health authorities have raised alarms about a looming health crisis, saying deaths from antibiotic-resistant bacteria could dwarf that from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund, led by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, seeks to serve as a temporary solution until new legislation can offer a more permanent fix in the market.
It aims to help shore up investment in smaller biotech companies after several large drugmakers, such as Sanofi SA bowed out of the antibiotics space.
“The fund is being developed to buy time for the future,” said Eli Lilly and Co CEO David Ricks. “We are probably buying 4-5 years of time with this initiative.”